Booking trains/ seat reservations

  • 25 October 2022
  • 3 replies

Hello everyone! 
I hope you’re well. I am a bit worried/ concerned about my EURAIL pass. I’m finding it difficult to navigate the website and would really appreciate your help to my problem. 
I have just bought a youth pass for the EUrail for 15 days within 2 months and have plans to travel in Austria and France in December. 
When I looked at booking tickets/ making seat reservations, the website said I would need to pay about 10-100 USD depending on the train and the distance but since I’d already bought a 300 USD pass, I’m confused as whether I need to buy these youth tickets in addition to my pass?  Is there another way to book the trains that my pass will cover without the additional fee? It also says above in the photo that seat reservations are required to board and am assuming I do need to pay the additional fee? 

Thank you!!


Best answer by rvdborgt 25 October 2022, 10:08

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3 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Some trains require a reservation, such as all TGVs in/from/to France. In Austria, Germany and Switzerland, the vast majority of trains have optional reservations (or no reservations at all).

Reservations often cost money. There are ways to avoid trains with mandatory reservations in France, e.g. by using regional trains (TER) but they often take more time and/or require more changes. Also see:

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

There are better ways to make reservations, if needed, than the Eurail website. Please read more about that below. 


Here is some useful information from the experienced travellers in the Community regarding both planning, reservations and activation of pass and travel days. 


The rail planner is normally not up to date, as it only is updated once a month, so to be sure of the time table you better check the timetable and availability on the websites of the national railways. The bigger national railways, like DB (Germany) SBB (Switzerland) and ÖBB (Austria) cover several countries. 


The advice from the experienced travellers in the community is to use other ways to make reservations than the Interrail/Eurail website.  You can look at the guide in the link:

If you, after having looked at the guide, have questions about how to make specific reservation, please give your travel details (departure date, time and route) preferably in a new topic, and you will get advice.

Please note that Interrail/Eurail charges an extra fee of 2 EUR per person and train in addition to the fee for the seat reservation.

 Activation of pass

During the activation process, when you choose the start day of the validity of the pass, the first day of the validity period is automatically made a travel day, even if you don't enter a journey, the advice is therefore not to activate the pass before the first travel day as you only can deactivate the pass before 00.00 on the day the validity starts. If your travel plans change in the last moment you will loose travel days if you have activated the pass in advance.

It can be wise to make a test and activate the pass with a start date well in the future and then deactivate the pass immediately, just to see that everything works.

 Activation of travel day

The advice from the experienced travellers in the community is also never to activate a travel day, that is connect a journey to your pass and create the ticket (QR code), until just before boarding the train, otherwise you might loose a travel day if your travel plans change in a late stage  You can't delete a travel day in the past. A travel day can only be deleted until 23.59 CET the day before the travel day.

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

A RES where its optional only usually cost around 4-5€-which barely covers the cost of doing it (it dates from age-old times when one had to go to a counter and let someone working for railways arrange it. It should also be evident that overnite accomm (sleeper/couchette) cost more due to higher cost.

These hi-speed trains in FR-IT and ES also levy a surcharge on the normal fares for anyone-which varies quite a lot, this is the background idea behind it. It will also serve as a kind of deterrent to people (yes, these exist) who want to spend all their paid for passdays in such trains and ride the whole system (I must admit that once I also tried and through the years have succeeded in cover nearly the whole such system in FR-but spread out over many yrs). The extra to pay also gradually grew higher+higher during those yrs.

The prob is more that about any newbee wants to ride exactly those trains and routes that are the hardest to get. Mainstream touristy forums always advice against passes and let you just buy a normal fare.